Bogsucker Strut 5K Race Report - Monkey's Off My Back!

Finally got this year's sub-18 5K monkey off my back (more on that below). This was my best week of running in a few weeks and it culminated with a really solid 17:45 for third place overall at the Bogsucker Strut 5K in Twinsburg. I had never done this race before, but I've run several races that start and finish at the Twinsburg Recreation Center and they're always well organized. Fortunately, yesterday's 5K was a much faster course than that Turkey Trot 5 miler that hits some very steep dirt trails! We also had ideal weather -- low 40s at the start. This was an out and back that was net downhill the first mile, which meant the last mile would be the toughest. With that in mind, I tried to hold back as much as possible on the blazing first mile. I hit 5:38, feeling like it was about 10 seconds slower. Much more controlled than that 5K race in Louisville back on St. Patrick's Day. Good sign. Soon after the mile mark, we hit a narrow and scenic bike path before making a very abrupt turn around some cones to head back. I felt really good at this point as I headed back. The only difficulty here was paying attention to groups of the slower runners heading towards me. I kind of wish they set up more cones to keep runners on opposite sides of the path here. I didn't see a 2 mile marker but I was still feeling strong as I hit the final hilly mile. The hills weren't as bad as I thought I would be when I warmed up -- more gradual than anything really steep, but certainly not pleasant. At this point, my masters friend Curt, who went out very hard, had a big lead and would go on to win the race in 16:50. A younger friend, Mike, started a little behind me, but caught me with about 3/4 of a mile to go and displayed some youthful power as he kicked in with an impressive 17:34, his first time under 18 I think (he's going to be very fast by the end of this year). I was third in 17:45 and another masters friend, Steve, was fourth in 18:31. Three of the top four runners were over the age of 45, which I thought was pretty cool.

As for the sub-18 monkey reference, back when I started running again in 2005 at age 40, after a very long hiatus, I set my goal for my first year as sub 18. My first race that year was a 19:14 and I thought that would be a good challenge. I ended up with 17:52 that year and I have been under 18:00 every year since, this being year number eight. Some years have been better than others, but I'm really happy with the consistency. I want running to be a lifetime sport and I feel like I'm in a much better place than I was in November 2004 when I woke up hungover and stoned and depressed after my 40th birthday party. About a month after that, I got my act together and decided that I wanted to compete again and the rest is history.

Next up for me is the Meteor 10K in Michigan on April 14. Really looking forward to this. I always run really well in that race -- fast, flat USATF certified course with a very deep field. I seem to have figured out a good training pattern for myself and this week will be more of the same. 10 or 11 easy miles on Monday; a 'mile club' workout with a decent cool down on Wednesday; and an easy shakeout before driving to Michigan on Friday.

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